AR 15023 (Archival Research)

Thu Jul 25 13:20:13 GMT 2024

Principal Investigator: Paul Goudfrooij
PI Institution: Space Telescope Science Institute
Investigators (xml)

Title: Looking for Photometric Signatures of Fast Rotation in Intermediate-Age Star Clusters in the Magellanic Clouds
Cycle: 25

Recently, deep color-magnitude diagrams from HST data revealed that several massive intermediate-age star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds exhibit extended main-sequence turn-offs (eMSTOs). This discovery posed serious questions regarding the mechanisms responsible for the formation of massive globular clusters and their well-known multiple stellar populations. The nature of eMSTOs is a hotly debated topic of study. Several studies argued that the eMSTOs are caused by an age range of up to a few hundred Myr, while other studies indicate that eMSTOs can instead be caused by a coeval population in which the stars span a range of rotation velocities. Formal evidence to (dis-)prove either scenario still remains at large, in part because stellar tracks that incorporate the effects of rotation have so far only been available for masses > 1.7 Msun whereas the stars in the known eMSTOs of intermediate-age star clusters are less massive. In this proposal we aim to look for photometric signatures of fast rotators in eMSTO clusters that have been observed by HST in three passbands including (at least) F336W and F814W. We will study spreads in different stellar colors, testing against those predicted with the aid of von Zeipel's geometric study for a population of rotating stars with a significant spread in their inclination. Importantly, this spread due to the presence of rotation is predicted to occur along well-defined lines in color-color diagrams, in directions that are distinct from those in color-magnitude diagrams and distinct from the spread predicted for the age range scenario.